Kriel founded Velocity Robotics two years ago. He moved to Pittsburgh in 2007 when Caterpillar opened up a research center in the city to work with Carnegie Mellon University on self-driving vehicles for mining. Kriel, an Oklahoma State graduate, worked on robotics and using radar and LiDAR for machine perception. He left Caterpillar after seven years and started toying around with what would become Velocity Robotics.
The idea for the company started while Kriel was renovating his home in Dormont. As he would move from a project to his saw, he would forget measurements, ruin the paper they were written on, misread his own handwriting or just make the wrong cut.
Kriel had ideas of a completely automated cut station for job sites where the saw would automatically adjust to needed measurements and lumber would be automatically loaded and cut and robotic vehicles to move materials around construction sites.